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Neuron. 2012 Dec 20;76(6):1161-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.10.020.

Cortical feedback control of olfactory bulb circuits.

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  • 1Center for Neural Circuits and Behavior, Department of Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Olfactory cortex pyramidal cells integrate sensory input from olfactory bulb mitral and tufted (M/T) cells and project axons back to the bulb. However, the impact of cortical feedback projections on olfactory bulb circuits is unclear. Here, we selectively express channelrhodopsin-2 in olfactory cortex pyramidal cells and show that cortical feedback projections excite diverse populations of bulb interneurons. Activation of cortical fibers directly excites GABAergic granule cells, which in turn inhibit M/T cells. However, we show that cortical inputs preferentially target short axon cells that drive feedforward inhibition of granule cells. In vivo, activation of olfactory cortex that only weakly affects spontaneous M/T cell firing strongly gates odor-evoked M/T cell responses: cortical activity suppresses odor-evoked excitation and enhances odor-evoked inhibition. Together, these results indicate that although cortical projections have diverse actions on olfactory bulb microcircuits, the net effect of cortical feedback on M/T cells is an amplification of odor-evoked inhibition.

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